A disturbing new scam is being reported by the FBI and news outlets, known as Ransomware. Ransomware is a type of malicious software (“malware”) that is infecting computers. It acts by locking or encrypting users’ data. Users see a message on their computer screen informing them that their data will be held until a ransom is paid. The price escalates for each day the ransom remains unpaid, and if the user refuses, it will be deleted. Unfortunately, this scam has already hit at least one law firm, albeit one in Canada. There are variations of the scam, including ones where the message purports to come from the FBI or a governmental entity and demands a “fine.”
The malware can come from a number of sources, including email, websites and infected flashdrives. Users unwittingly install the malware by clicking a link, opening an attachment, or simply visiting a compromised website. This malware is a variant of the Dorkbot worm, and simply put, there’s no end to the damage it can do.
Where this scam is concerned, prevention is the best cure. Even if an email comes from someone you know, don’t click on a link or attachment unless you verify it or were expecting it. Use caution when browsing the web, and make sure your antivirus software is always current, as are your browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox) and your operating system (load those service packs and updates!). Always have more than one computer backup. Keep in mind, any backups that are part of your network could be compromised too. They would need to be physically removed from the network, like a backup drive that is disconnected.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of a ransom request, first: don’t pay it! Report the scam immediately to the FBI Cyber Crime Division and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Then call a reputable computer professional for assistance.
The 2012 Solo & Small Firm Conference and CLE is in the history books! Take a look at the good times from the Kickoff Barbecue Thursday night and the main event on Friday. Kudos to the Solo & Small Firm Section for another great show!
No matter your practice area, there are times when you want to compare two documents and see the changes that were made. There is software that does this, but it can be expensive. The next time you want to compare two documents, try the built-in functionality in Word 2007 or 2010. Here’s how:
Open Word and click on Review (on the ribbon) and then click on Compare. Then click on Compare again. There are two choices – You will want to click on Compare two versions of a document (legal blackline). The Compare Documents box opens – on the left, you first need to choose which document is the Original document. The drop-down arrow will show you the most recent documents you worked with. If you don’t see the document there, click on the folder icon to browse for the document you want. Click on More to choose more fields to compare (if you wish). Click OK.
Now choose which document is the Revised document using the same procedure and click OK. A new window will open in the middle that shows the Compared Document with the changes redlined. As you scroll through this, the top right-hand part of the screen will show the Original Document and the bottom right-hand part of the screen will show the Revised Document. It’s easy to follow along because it automatically shows the same part of all three documents.
If you wish, you can save the Compared Document as a new document (just be sure to give it a unique name) and you will now have a separate red-lined document you can save and print!
It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. Give it a try and you’ll see!
– Courtesy of Reba Nance, Colorado Bar Association
If you occasionally work on your laptop in a coffee shop, an airport, a meeting room, any public place, is your work protected from the curious eyes of the people around you? You may want to consider adding a privacy filter to your screen. Privacy filters narrow the viewing angle so that only the person looking directly at the screen can read your data. These filters also help protect the screens from damage and reduce glare while allowing you to work comfortably in public without worrying about your data being at risk. The filters are available at most office supply stores and from online retailers in a wide range of prices.
It’s almost here – September 13 & 14, the start of the annual event for small firms in South Carolina: the Solo & Small Firm CLE and Annual Meeting. Yes, we know you’re still squeezing every ounce of laziness out of summer, but it’s time to pack up the beach umbrella and come back to town! I can’t think of a better way to kick-off the fall than attending this popular annual gathering. If you need some convincing, here are my TOP reasons YOU should attend:
Jim Calloway. He’s not just a popular blogger, ABA author, former TECHSHOW Chair, and famous speaker. He’s also a former small firm lawyer who really GETS what small firm lawyers want to hear about. His keynote on the future of law practice is not to be missed!
Exhibitors. We’ve hand-selected the choicest tech companies, consultants, insurance providers, and more, specifically for small law firms. At least 20 exhibitors are signed up so far!
Ethics. Out of 6 total CLE hours, we’re offering TWO hours of ethics credit. Our math is rusty, but we’d say that’s a lot of ethics bang for the buck! It’s not just any ethics credit, either. Everyone wants to know more about fees, trust accounting software, social media and e-discovery.
Prizes. With so many prizes being offered, we are sure to have lots of winners. But there’s a catch: you need to be present to win!
Product demos. It’s hard to concentrate on a software demo when your feet hurt and you’re in a hurry. That’s why we have a room set aside for software demos. There’s a different one every 30 minutes. Bring your coffee, have a seat, watch, listen, and ask questions!
Networking. It’s time to… put a face with that name on the Section listserv… thank someone in person… cement a friendship… in other words, it’s time to network! The Section barbecue the night before (the “Have Shingle – Let’s Mingle”) is a time to have fun while we get to know each other. Then on Friday, we come together again for the Section luncheon at the hotel. One of the best parts? It’s all included in the registration!
Tips. You’ll stay to the end for this fun session, “Our Favorite Tips for Small Firm Lawyers.” I always say that one great tip can make an entire CLE worthwhile. Just think what 50 tips can do!
E-Discovery. Many small firms are playing catch-up when it comes to understanding the rules regarding discovery of electronically stored information (ESI). Catch speaker Jeffrey Ritter as he lays out 10 Key Steps to Avoiding E-Discovery Malpractice with Individual Clients.
iPads. They’re everywhere – just look around! iPad experts Jim Calloway and SC lawyer Karl Folkens give us their real world take on iPads for litigators.
Value. We’re all searching for a way to stretch our CLE dollars. It’s not likely you will find a CLE anywhere that offers this much for this little money. Special rates are available for non-lawyer staff – bring your office manager or secretary for $125 ($150 after August 31, so hurry register now). Bring your law clerk for just $50!